I read a pretty good description of this movie a couple days ago that I think fits it nicely: Jason Bourne (of the movies, not the books) gets older and has a daughter, then the daughter gets kidnapped and he goes after the bad guys. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) used to work for the government as a sort of super-agent. But after his wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) splits with him and takes their daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) to live with her new husband Stuart (Xander Berkeley), he retires so that he can live closer to them and make up for lost time. Soon after Kim’s seventeenth birthday, her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy) invites her to spend the summer in Paris. Reluctantly, and with conditions, Bryan signs the papers (as she is underage) to go out of the country. Unfortunately, not long after they get to Paris, both are kidnapped and sold into human sex trafficking. So now it’s up to Bryan to get to Paris and hunt down who is responsible and get his daughter back, no matter what.

I’m a fan of anything Luc Besson is involved with (writer/director/producer), from his more brilliant works (Leon, Angel-A) to his more brainless fun (The Transporter). So when I heard that he had his hand in writing this script, I knew I was there. So where in the Besson-Spectrum does it fall? It’d say it’s somewhere in the middle, teetering on the edge between. I wouldn’t say it’s fully brilliant as there is a vast expanse of action and little-to-no character development. But I wouldn’t say it’s brainless, either, because there is a depth to it.

Some will say that the movie starts off slowly, but I disagree. I think that the first twenty or so minutes are really important in doing what so many action movies these days skip: setting up the relationships between the characters. Without seeing how deeply caring and devoted Bryan is to his daughter, would we care as much as we do when he does eventually go on his rampage through Paris? I’m not so sure. And I think the setup works well to help with that.

As far as the actors go, Liam Neeson was a bit stale at times, but at other times I knew he was the only person who could have pulled off some of the dialogue he was given. Famke Janssen, for the little we see of her, does well as the pain-in-the-ass ex-wife who refuses to give Liam a break. I’ve read some people had a problem with Maggie Grace playing a seventeen year old (convincingly). But I didn’t have any issues. She’s not in the movie long enough for me to have really cared how well she did. Though that’s another thing I think the movie does well. Most Hollywood action movies always cut to the kidnapped victim and show his or her (usually her) side of the story. After Kim is kidnapped, that’s the last you see of her until her dad finds her, so you don’t know if she’s going to be dead or alive when he gets there until the truth is finally revealed. It helps with the suspense.

Overall, I thought it was pretty good. There were a few logistical issues that I had, but they weren’t so big to where it would ruin the movie as a whole. There’s some good action and some intense moments (though, oddly, for a movie about human sex trafficking, no nudity). So if you want a good action movie that actually has characters you can care about and a decent plot, I’d recommend it.

I Am McLovin!

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